When you look up at the stars at night, some stars are brighter than others, depending on how far away from earth they are. The closest star according to astronomers is about 4 light years away, which means that at the speed of light it takes 4 years for a beam of light to reach earth from that star. So when we look at that star, we are seeing it as it was 4 years ago. And some estimates by astronomers put the farthest stars away from us at 12 billion light years away. So we are seeing light that originated from that star 12 billion years ago.
So I wonder what has happened during that 12 billion years? Is it possible that the star burned out or blew up some time during that 12 billion years? Possibly. Who knows, right? But when you think about the stars that way, it is possible that every star we are looking at in the sky is gone. Burned out long ago. Yet we are still experiencing its light thousands, millions of years later.
So of course, this got me thinking. I look around where I live and I see businesses that have come and gone. Some of them closed as quickly as they opened. I see empty storefronts that most likely contained some dreams of whomever it was that decided to start that business, sortof like a star that burns really bright and then burns out pretty quick. I even see some businesses close that had been open for decades. Then all of sudden…gone. Did they make any difference in the community where they were? Who knows.
I see parks and schools and bridges named after people whom I’ve never heard of. I am sure you have to do something pretty awesome to get your name on a bridge or a school. And I imagine that those folks will be remembered for many, many years by the folks that know them. Those folks were pretty bright stars indeed.
So then I think about things a little more closely to home. I think about me. Have I done anything in my life that would last even a fraction of that time? Will my name be put on a building or a bridge or a road? Will I spend my life spending my energy and time building things for myself? I have come to believe that everyone, from a business to myself, has the choice to spend their time and energy on things that benefit themselves, or benefit others. I can make choices to give back to my community and my family. I may not get my name on a bridge, but I can make a difference where I am, for those around me.
And your business is no different. You can make the choice to make a difference to your employees, and to those in your community. You can even choose to give your employees time to give of their time and energy to others. So that many years from now your star, and theirs, will shine bright for years to come.